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Mother & Son Experience Therapy as a Team
by Chris Anderson, Marketing Manager
Heritage Ministries Management Company 
 
David & MAry Ellen EmmottJune 2008 - Rehab can be a very challenging experience.  In order to be successful, it requires dedication and commitment to achieve personal goals, as well as encouragement and support from others.

Mary Ellen and David Emmott (Sinclairville) were able to provide this necessary support and encouragement to each other as they persevered through rehabilitation at Heritage Village Rehab & Skilled Nursing (Gerry).  After knee replacement surgeries, this mother and son team chose Heritage Village where their hard work, determination, and teamwork led both to a successful rehabilitation experience. 

The Knee Replacement Surgery Experience

Knee replacement surgery is a procedure in which a doctor surgically removes a painful knee joint and replaces it with an artificial joint.  The procedure is relatively routine.  Once under anesthesia, an eight to twelve-inch incision is made in the front of the knee. The damaged part of the joint is removed from the surface of the bones, and the surfaces are then shaped to hold a metal or plastic artificial joint. The artificial joint is attached to the thigh bone, shin and knee cap with cement. When fit together, the attached artificial parts form the joint, relying on the surrounding muscles and ligaments for support and function of the knee.  Knee replacements generally last twenty years.

David Emmott’s knee replacement surgery was performed by Dr. Cardamone of Lakeshore Orthopedic Group (Dunkirk).  David chose to undergo a bi-lateral (double) knee replacement surgery at Brooks Memorial Hospital (Dunkirk).  After years of plumbing and constant stress on his knees, it was time for David to seriously consider knee replacement.  Armed with countless hours of research and the encouragement of Dr. Cardamone, David felt that a double knee replacement was his best option.

“I did a lot of research on the Internet regarding double knee replacement and the process involved from surgery through rehabiliation,” states David.  “My thought was, why go through the pain of two separate surgeries, when I have the opportunity to get both of my injured knees replaced at the same time?  It was an easy decision for me.  I had done my homework and knew what I was getting myself into.”

Mary Ellen Emmott’s knee replacement was performed by Dr. Fitzgerald, also of Lakeshore Orthopedic Group.  Just last year, Mary Ellen underwent hip replacement surgery and successfully completed rehab at Heritage Village.  Because of the hip replacement surgery and the inevitable stress on her knees as a result of favoring her hip, she decided she needed relief from the knee pain caused by bone on bone contact.  Mary Ellen’s surgery was also performed at Brooks Memorial Hospital.

“My knee was getting progressively worse and I knew that surgery was going to be my only option,” explains Mary Ellen.  “Having already gone through a total hip replacement, I had an idea of what to expect in terms of surgery and rehabilitation of a knee replacement.  For me, it was the only option to control the pain I was experiencing on a daily basis.”
 
Rehabilitation at Heritage

Both Mary Ellen and David chose to complete their therapy at Heritage Village Rehab & Skilled Nursing for a variety of reasons.  As part of the hospital discharge process, patients speak with a social worker who provides rehab therapy options.  Because of its proximity to Sinclairville and the discharge planner’s referral, Heritage Village was the right fit. 

David states, “Our preference from the very beginning was Heritage Village.  I had read the newspaper article on former NFL player, Jim McCusker.  I was really impressed with the care he received and his experience with the entire staff at Heritage Village.  The article highlighted some of the struggles Jim had with his rehabilitation, but it was refreshing to read that he persevered through it and reached his personal goals.  Honestly, the only way we knew that short-term rehab was available at Heritage Village was because of articles printed by The Post-Journal.  The community needs to know that your nursing facilities offer short-term rehabilitation.”

The rehab experience, although necessary, is very tough and demanding.  The first couple weeks after a knee replacement surgery can be very difficult and this can normally determine a course of success or failure for the rest of the rehab experience.

“People don’t realize how far you come from surgery through the entire rehab process,” explains Mary Ellen. “The doctors want you to stand and bend the knee right after surgery.  On the third day after surgery, this is when therapy begins.  This is often the time when you determine whether or not you are going to be successful.  David and I are very competitive with one another.  We kept each other motivated and focused on the task at hand.  We saw people every day that wanted to give up and throw in the towel.  It is a long, hard road but you have to get going every day!  You have to get your motivation in check and persevere.”

“The rehab experience is very demanding and you need that internal motivation to reach your personal goals,” states David.  “The therapists at Heritage Village work you hard and make you earn everything.  What kept me going was the daily encouragement from my mother, of course, as well as my desire to get back home and spend time with my grandchildren.”

An Appreciation for What Heritage Offers

Both Mary Ellen and David worked directly with Aime Rizzuto, Heritage Occupational Therapist, on upper body therapy and Anh-Ly Stevens, Heritage Physical Therapist, on lower body exercises.  Many wonder why there is additional focus on upper body therapy for a knee replacement.  Knee replacement patients tend to rely a lot on their upper body when compensating for their surgically repaired knees and/or hips when using a walker, cane, or set of crutches.  It makes sense that upper body therapy and strengthening would be vitally important.

Aime Rizzuto states, “Mother and son in therapy was a first for me!  They were quite a dynamic duo.  From the previous hip replacement therapy, I knew Mary Ellen was dedicated and a hard worker.  Apparently, her son David inherited these same traits.  Both of them successfully tolerated a higher level of therapy and provided a lot of fun and positive energy in therapy each day they were here.  Working with this mother and son team was truly a fun experience.”

According to Aime, both Mary Ellen and David are home and have resumed normal activities. 

David adds, “I would recommend Heritage to anyone.  Being from Sinclairville, we know of a number of the Heritage Village employees.  The aides are very caring and concerned people.  They treat you like their own family.  Most importantly, you build relationships with the other patients and staff.  You develop friendships here and there is a desire to come back to visit.  That speaks volumes about a organization’s reputation.  It is very special experience.”

The Future of Rehabilitation at Heritage

Heritage Ministries offers short-term rehabilitation at Heritage Green (Greenhurst), Heritage Village (Gerry), and Heritage Park (Jamestown) Rehab and Skilled Nursing.  This non-profit, human service ministry organization receives referrals from several hospitals, rehab centers, and assisted living facilities from throughout the region.  “As David said earlier, many individuals don't realize skilled nursing facilities offer short-term rehabilitation,” states Mark Constantino, Rehab Services Manager.  “However, over the past five years, the Heritage Ministries Rehab and Skilled Nursing facilities have made short-term rehabilitation one of its top priorities.  With a commitment to offering the latest therapy interventions, and to meet the needs of our community, our rehab department has grown to one of the largest in Chautauqua County. 
 
To learn more about Rehabilitation: The Heritage Way, including Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapy, contact Heritage Admissions at (716) 484-6695.
 
Heritage Ministries Corporate Office - 4600 Route 60, P.O. Box 350, Gerry, New York 14740, Phone: (716) 487-6800, Fax: (716) 985-6600
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